History Camp Boston 2019 t-shirt

The deadline to register and be assured of getting this year’s shirt in your size has passed. If you missed the deadline, we will have a limited number for sale at the event.

If you’re not attending and want a shirt, we have a few available through The History List store.  Once these are gone, they will not be reprinted.  Proceeds will fund future History Camps.

About the design

Our original design for History Camp Boston 2019 recognizes the British Evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776. (The design of the shirt for History Camp Boston 2018 was about the Occupation of Boston.)

The image in the design appeared in Germany and is as colorful as you can imagine given enormity of the event they heard about and the distance over which the news traveled, with explosions, fire, and men being thrown high into the air in their illustration.
A native speaker sent this in response to my request for a translation of the title that accompanies the image:
Richtige ubbildung der bon den Americanischen probinzialisten belagerten und wiedereroberten Hauptstadt und festung Boston in America

It is very old German and means something like:

“Correct illustration of the capital and fortress Boston in America, besieged and reconquered by American provincialists.”

John Bell, author of the site Boston 1775 and the book, The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War, and a speaker at this year’s History Camp Boston, commented:
This German art appears to show the evacuation taking place under cannon and mortar fire, with a big explosion at the center throwing bodies up into the air. That’s definitely not how it took place.
The Continentals did cannonade the town in early March 1776, but
a) that artillery fire did remarkably little damage.
b) there was an informal agreement for the Americans to hold off heavy fire as the British military and their supporters left ASAP.
It’s possible to make the argument that this graphic symbolizes the evacuation by compressing the artillery attack and the British departure into a single moment, and that it reflects an 18th-century understanding of the event, albeit from a faraway country.

The shirt: A super-soft  4.3 ounce t-shirt from Next Level that is 60% cotton / 40% polyester jersey and has been pre-washed to reduce shrinkage.

Thanks to Michelle Novak for this year’s design.  Michelle is also the person who designed the great History Camp logo.

More on the historical image


This image is available on the Library of Congress site.

The brief history of History Camp Boston shirts

Each year, History Camp Boston features a custom-printed t-shirt for attendees that’s inspired by a historic anniversary or nearby historic site.  As pictured below, our 2018 shirt commemorated the 250th anniversary of the occupation of Boston, the 2017 shirt highlighted the nearby Granary Burying Ground, the 2016 shirt marked the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act repeal, the 2015 shirt featured the Old State House, and the original 2014 History Camp shirt,  which was inspired by the lanterns lit at Old North on the eve of the British march to Lexington and Concord.

Coming up with this year’s theme

Thanks to John and Jake for the several suggestions they sent in for this year’s theme.

From JL Bell

Just off the top of my head, here are a couple of ideas for visual themes. First, that weekend includes Evacuation Day/St. Patrick’s Day. I presume that might be part of plans for Sunday events. If so, there are plenty of historic images associated with the day, such as images of the British departing and the medal the Congress wanted to give to Washington (now at the BPL, if I recall right). Plus more recent pictures of Irish Boston, Mayor Curley, etc.

Second, 2019 will be the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Third Meetinghouse/Old South Church. There were two buildings before the one we now have as Old South Meeting House, plus the current Old South Church in the Back Bay. If there are images (even conjectural) of the first two, then they could show how a Boston institution evolved over three and a half centuries.

More ideas for “round number anniversaries” from Jake Sconyers

  • Jan 15, 1919: A holding tank ruptures in Boston’s North End, releasing millions of gallons of molasses in a deadly tidal wave.
  • Feb 11, 1969: Boston’s new City Hall, with its polarizing brutalist architecture, is officially dedicated.
  • Feb 24, 1919: 22 women are arrested at the Massachusetts State House (steps from the location of History Camp 2019) for protesting a speech by President Woodrow Wilson.  The President was arriving back in the US after participating in negotiations about his proposed League of Nations, but suffrage activists were upset that he hadn’t kept promises to support a suffrage amendment.  It was the last mass arrest of American women jailed in the name of suffrage.
  • Jun 16, 1869: Boston’s Grand Peace Jubilee opens in the Back Bay, a spectacular musical celebration of the end of the Civil War.  The coliseum is one of the largest buildings in the world in the time, holding twice as many audience members as a concert at the TD Garden.  The concert features a chorus of 10,000 singers, 1,000 instrumentalists, the world’s largest organ, an 8 foot bass drum, an electrically fired battery of cannons, a cavalcade of church bells, and 100 uniformed Boston fire fighters hammering anvils in unison.
  • Sept 9, 1919: With runaway inflation after World War I, Boston police officers were still earning wages set in 1857, while paying for their uniforms and equipment out of pocket.  Fed up with stagnant wages and poor conditions, the officers unionized.  On September 9, they went on strike, and days of violence and chaos swept the streets aftewards.
  • Dec 21, 1719: James Franklin (Ben’s brother) begins publishing the Boston Gazette, Boston’s second newspaper.
  • Dec 26, 1919: Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sells Babe Ruth’s contract, creating the Curse of the Bambino.